Avoiding tax in South Africa’s retail industry via customer loyalty programs
Keywords:Customer loyalty program, Leakage, Revenue reform, Tax base.
AbstractThe Medium Term Budget Policy Statement presented by the South African Minister of Finance in late 2013, highlighted that government expenditure substantially exceeded revenues collected. In investigating the possible broadening of the South African tax base as well as improving revenue administration, there is evidence of a gap in the taxation of customer loyalty programmes within many industries. The problem is that customer loyalty award credits are currently not being taxed by the revenue authority in South Africa. This study uses a multiple instrumental case study design to identify the tax leakages resulting from inadequate revenue administration within the South African retail industry’s use of customer loyalty programmes. The study has found that the loss to the fiscus in the non-taxing of customer loyalty award credits is substantial.
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